"Our people are our greatest asset. Work and family life are intertwined like never before and we want our employees to flourish in all aspects of their lives. That's why we provide a comprehensive framework of support to help them through some of life's most important and challenging times."
Carole Ohl, Chief People Officer
Our Policies in the UK
Core enhanced family leave provisions:
- Enhanced* maternity and adoption leave policies (26 weeks full pay, followed by 13 weeks statutory pay)
- Enhanced* co-parent leave (4 weeks at full pay)
- Enhanced* shared parental leave (26 weeks full pay and 13 weeks statutory pay to be shared between two parents)
*Subject to eligibility at time of using policy
Available to all parents, prospective parents
- Fertility Treatment leave (up to 5 days paid leave for employees undergoing fertility treatment, and up to 2 days paid leave for employees with partners undergoing treatment)
- Neonatal Leave (up to 12 weeks additional paid leave for parents with a newborn baby requiring neonatal care)
- Pregnancy loss and parental bereavement (two weeks paid leave for employees who suffer the loss of a child under 18 – including miscarriage)
- Carers and dependents leave (five days paid leave per year to allow employees to attend emergency or ad-hoc situations involving a child or other dependent)
- Parental leave* (18 weeks' statutory leave for parents with children up to age 18)
- Flexible working policy (all employees with 26 weeks service are entitled to submit a request to work flexibly)
- Hybrid working* policy allows employees the flexibility to work from home two days per week (pro-rated for part-time employees)
- The firm hosts a number of parenting workshops regularly throughout the year, targeted at both expectant parents (covering topics such as preparing for a temporary exit from the business, to childcare), and for new parents returning to work (covering things like transitioning back into the business, building confidence and developing your network).
- The firm gifts a fully funded initial six month subscription to 'Post Partum Plan', to new parents. The package includes online webinars, nutritional advice, yoga and breath-work exercises, as well as a box of goodies to support recovery and healing postpartum.
- The firm regularly runs interactive sessions on topics relevant to parents and carers, for example, on engaging with children on online safety, and on the role of a carer in our "Carers Matter" session.
- The firm provides an emergency back up care scheme in partnership with My Family Care, providing support to those who experience a breakdown in care, for example a school or nursery closure, a carer calling in sick, a sick child unable to attend nursery or school or an unexpected business meeting. All employees are eligible for 6 paid sessions per year.
- The firm has a Families Network – a space where employees can come together to share experiences of being a working parent or carer.
When I was expecting my children, the HR team set out the options available to me in terms of my maternity leave. We discussed how much contact I would be happy with and how I'd want to return – would I want to come back full or part-time? We put a plan together but I'd have the opportunity to change it when the time came.
When I was expecting, Fieldfisher supported me in allowing me to work flexible hours. I suffered from morning sickness and had some really awful experiences on the tube so I was grateful to be given the flexibility to avoid travelling during rush hour. I was even supported by the IT team who provided me with a second laptop so I didn't have to carry my computer to and from work whilst pregnant.
In terms of keeping in touch with my colleagues, it was quite easy as we carried on communicating in our Whatsapp group.
Not wanting to return to work full time to start with, I was able to use my accrued Bank Holidays and leave to allow me to go back to work part time. I've since returned to work full time and I make every effort to finish at 5.30 so I'm at home for the crucial feed, bed and bath times. That means that, even if I need to log on later in the evening, we still have that regular family time.
I also participated in the 'How to make being a Working Parent Work' programme which is run by the firm. It really helped to meet other people going through the same thing.
When it came to taking my paternity leave, I knew that the firm's offering went above and beyond the statutory requirement. Here at Fieldfisher fathers are entitled to four weeks paternity leave on full pay. There is also some flexibility around those four weeks; I was able to take the four weeks in two two-week blocks. The leave was a great support as it provided me with the time to look after our three other children whilst my wife cared for our new-born.
The firm is very supportive in all kinds of life events that people are faced with. The firm's culture, and particularly within my team, is extremely supportive and cares for each employee as a person such that no one ever feels out of place.
When my third was born, I joined a support network at Fieldfisher. At the time there were not many other fathers in the network, but I would encourage all fathers to join.
I had a lot of support from HR during my maternity leave. They informed me of all of the benefits and support that the firm could provide. I wasn't aware of a £100 one-off family benefit I could claim from Bupa and the process to claiming this was very easy.
The firm's enhanced maternity package is amazing with 26 weeks' full pay followed by 13 weeks of statutory pay. I came in for a couple of keeping-in-touch days too during my maternity leave and this process was very easy. I also then submitted a flexible working request for my return to work.
Upon returning back to the office, I requested a flexible working pattern. My request was to cut down to 4 working days and start the working day earlier. I completed the flexible working request document and submitted this to HR. This request was then discussed with my Lead PA and the Head of Department. The firm was very flexible and happy to assist. They put this in place for a 6 month trial. During the trial period, we realised the requested start time wasn't as beneficial as we had previously hoped. The firm and department were very supportive and we amended the times with a new working contract. This was put in place the following week.
Since I have been back, I have had return to work catch ups with HR and also return to work meetings with my Lead PA. It is nice to feel supported as it can make you feel quite apprehensive about returning to work after a year, even though I did stay in contact with the team and HR!
I think all the support I received was excellent – especially from HR and my Lead PA. I'm grateful my maternity leave was so well supported and my return to work so smooth.
I've been on maternity leave twice before being made partner, each time taking the full 12 months offered by the firm.
I was a senior associate at the time, and from the outset, my supervising partner made clear that my maternity leave would not negatively impact my career progression and partnership prospects.
Upon my return, I benefited from the firm-wide "How to make being a working parent work" programme. The programme connects new parents across the firm and helps develop effective strategies to balance work and family life.
I initially came back part-time for a few months following my first maternity leave, and I appreciated the flexibility of being able to decide when to revert to full-time work as I got used to my new life as a working mum.
Being a lawyer is a demanding job, but I am proud to work for a firm that is committed to making the balancing act between being a mother and a successful lawyer possible – be it through flexible working arrangements, emergency childcare support, or the various firm-wide programmes for parents of young children.
Now, as a partner, I hope to play my role in helping young mothers to plan and achieve successful careers at the firm without sacrificing their family lives."